Principles of the Agile Manifesto

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  • 0:00 What Is the Agile Manifesto
  • 1:43 Individuals and Interactions
  • 2:44 Working Software
  • 3:08 Customer Collaboration
  • 3:55 Responding to Change
  • 4:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laury Hales

Laury has taught in professional adult education settings for over 10 years and is currently working on a PhD in Organizational Psychology.

Agile methods surfaced to replace software development project management methods that were rigid and unresponsive. As with any concept, agile methods have guiding principles, and in this lesson, we'll look at those four guiding principles.

What Is the Agile Manifesto

Meet Donny! He's a successful software development project manager, a career he followed his grandfather in. Today, Donny is visiting his grandfather. As they often do, the two start talking about their passion for project management. Donny begins talking about a discussion he had with a co-worker about the agile manifesto when he suddenly notices that his grandfather seems a bit confused. Looking forward to teaching his granddad something new, Donny begins explaining the agile manifesto.

Granddad probably already knows that agile is a general term to describe several project methods that allow teams to respond quickly to changing requirements and project unpredictability by using iterative work cycles called sprints. Granddad also knows that agile came about because the traditional software development project methods he used were slow and rigid. Once technology started advancing at the rapid pace it is today, those rigid processes simply couldn't keep up with project changes.

What granddad doesn't know, Donny realizes, are the principles that drive agile projects. Those are written in the agile manifesto, a document penned in 2001 by a group of software industry leaders. Pulling up an image of the manifesto on his phone, Donny shows his grandfather a summary of the four principles, which are:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

Seeing granddad's interest, Donny begins to go over each principle.

Individuals and Interactions

First, he shares how developing a new product is hard, and we don't always get it right the first time. People are the key, and the first guiding principle emphasizes that through 'individuals and interactions over processes and tools.' Simply put, this principle says processes and tools should not get in the way of interacting with people. This principle refers to consistent, quality communication and engagement between the project team and the customer. Requirements will change, priorities will shift, and business needs will evolve before the project is complete. By emphasizing individuals and our interactions with them, we ensure the project responds to the people, not just the deliverables.

This principle doesn't mean that processes and tools aren't important. Sometimes, the formality that processes bring is required. What the first principle is saying is don't use a process for the sake of using a process. If a process isn't required or doesn't add value to the project, it shouldn't be used.

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